Local News

Kentucky’s Math And Reading Scores Show Improvement

Kentucky’s math and reading test scores show continued growth and, in some instances, exceed the national average, according to test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The scores released this week measure 4th and 8th graders nationwide and Kentucky shows promise when compared to its peers.

That may be attributed to the education reforms made in 1990, said University of Louisville professor Sam Stringfield. They were likely the most successful state reforms of the last 20 years, he said.

“And that the state has gone from being below the national average on all these measures, to virtually at or sometimes slightly above the national average, when you consider that we are still economically below the national average is really quite an accomplishment,” said Stringfield.

Local News

Businessman Launching Reading Program

The owner of west Louisville coffee shop is launching an effort to create an after school program for youngsters who have trouble reading.

James Linton, the owner of Expressions of You Coffeehouse, says he was spurred to action after a 12 year old student to whom he had offered a book told him he couldn’t read.

“What we decided to do was not to wait on anybody else to make a difference in this young person’s life, but to create an after school program right here at small coffee house where we could make a difference in some young people’s lives,” he said.

Linton says he plans to begin the program in January and already has 37 students signed up.

Now he’s looking for volunteer teachers and is raising money for the effort.

More details from James Linton are below

Events like the 5th Annual Poetry Super Slam held at Mastersons Restaurant this Sunday will help raise proceeds to fund the afterschool program. The event, which brought about more than 1,100 residents of Kentuckiana last year, is expected to draw an even bigger crowd because of the economy.

The annual poetry slam is a great event for the city of Louisville, bringing people together under the power of creative expression. The event will be held Sunday, December 6, 2009 from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. Entry fee for competitors is $20. First place cash prize is $300; Second place, $200; and Third place, $100. Mastersons is located at 830 South 3rd Street in Louisville.

To make donations to this cause, checks can be made payable to the Tandem Initiative/No Limit Ministries, 1800A Muhammad Ali Blvd, Louisville, Kentucky.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Study Shows Test Scores Up Since NCLB

A study released today finds most state test scores have risen since No Child Left Behind while others have mixed results. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

In 2002, No Child Left Behind became law to improve the performance of primary and secondary schools. The Center for Education Policy has analyzed state test scores since then and found most students scored higher in reading and math.

The report from the non-profit research group analyses student test scores from 50 states.

The study was made to determine if students really know more since No Child Left Behind became law in 2002, says Jack Jennings, the center’s director. This study indicates most do.

“Across the board, there seem to be increases in test scores on state tests used for NCLB purposes,” Jennings says. “And we have not found any conclusive evidence that NCLB’s emphasis on achieving proficiency has been to the determent of students at the high end or the low end.”

Some have questioned if No Child Left Behind shortchanges students outside of the proficiency level the law specifically sets out to raise.

The study only used data collected on Kentucky since 2007, because of broad changes made in the state test. It was insufficient to determine any trends, says Jennings.

Indiana’s scores showed mixed results, which Jennings says could be a signal for the state.

“It might be time to revisit the standards in Indiana and revisit the tests,” he says.” And it might be time to think of putting in a greater effort to increase achievement in Indiana.”

Jennings says while most scores were up, there were areas for concern.

“Even though there are increases at all three grade levels — elementary, middle and high — the increases at the high school level were fewer than at the elementary or middle school level,” he says.

In many states, high school student test scores have declined or been stagnant since No Child Left Behind became law in 2002. The study shows scores in Indiana and Kentucky match that trend. However, Jennings warns data from Kentucky was too limited to make any conclusive assessments.

Jennings says No Child Left Behind has had a part in improved scores, but also credits 20 years of reform efforts made at the national, state and local levels.

State of Affairs

What Are You Reading This Summer?

Monday, June 8, 2009
What Are You Reading This Summer?
It’s that time again, our annual summer reading show! A good summer read might be the perfect way to kick off those vacation months, but how will you choose a stimulating and relaxing book for at home or the beach? How do you know where to start and where can you find the newest releases from your favorite authors? Join us Monday as we discuss a few of the most highly recommended novels for summer 2009 and perhaps you’ll find your next heart wrenching, exhilarating, can’t-put-it-down page turner.

Listen to the Show

Related Links:

The State of Affairs 2009 Summer Reading List!

South of Broad, by Pat Conway

Boone: A Biography, by Robert Morgan

The Road and No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Taft, Bel Canto, and The Patron Saint of Liars, by Ann Patchett

Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog! by Jerome K. Jerome

Renegade, by Richard Wolff

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery

The Wheel of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher

Eiffel’s Tower: And the World’s Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count, by Jill Jonnes

Dogged Pursuit, by Robert Rodi

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, by David Grann

Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen

All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren

Galápagos, by Kurt Vonnegut

Daemon, by Daniel Suarez

Vienna 1814, by David King

Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South, by W. Ralph Eubanks

Possession: A Romance, by A.S. Byatt

Arts and Humanities Local News WFPL News Department Podcast

Adult Literacy in Kentucky Improves

A national study shows adult literacy rates in Kentucky have improved. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

In 1992, 19 percent of Kentucky adults lacked the ability to read materials such as newspaper articles and brochures. That number fell to 12 percent in 2003, according to a new study by the National Center for Education.

Tiffany Wheeler is an education professor at Transylvania University and president of the Kentucky Reading Association.

“There are some adult literacy programs that I’m sure that they have had an impact on the fact that these percentages have decreased as far as the lacking of literacy skills,” she says.

The study showed that 21 other states had a higher percent of adult population lacking those skills than those in Kentucky.

Wheeler credits a combination of forces for the improvement.

“I do think it’s community-based programs. I think teachers are better prepared because there’s so much really high quality professional development right now,” she says.

Wheeler says Kentucky has worked to improve literacy, notably through the Lexington-based Collaborative Center for Literacy Development. She says lower literacy skills usually indicate a less skilled workforce and affect the state’s ability to attract industry and jobs.

Local News

Every1Reads Misses Volunteer, Reading Goals

Four years ago, civic and education leaders in Louisville set a series of goals for a reading program called Every1Reads.

Greater Louisville, Inc joined with Louisville Metro Government and Jefferson County Public Schools to raise eight-million dollars and enlist ten-thousand volunteers with the ultimate goal of having all JCPS students reading at or above grade-level by 2008.

They succeeded in raising the money, but missed their volunteer goal by four-hundred, and only cut the number of students reading below grade-level by half.

“We’re moving in the right direction, we’re going to need a couple more years and that’s okay, because we’ve got the time, we’ve got the energy, we’ve got the money, and most importantly, we’ve got the volunteers to see it through,” says Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Eight-point-five percent of JCPS students are currently reading below grade level.